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Parable of the Leaven

Title: The Parable of the Leaven

Subject: The Parables of the Kingdom of Heaven

Age: 3 to 10 years

Liturgical Time: Epiphany, before Lent, or during other ordinary time.

Prerequisites:  Parable of the Precious Pearl, and Parable of the Mustard Seed

Doctrinal Content: The Kingdom of Heaven has a hidden and invisible power that makes us grow and change.

Direct Aim: This lesson intends to introduce the Parable of the Leaven, which tells us about the hidden and invisible power of the Kingdom of Heaven that makes us grow and transform us. It also aims for the child to reflect on the power of God and His work in His Kingdom, and to nurture an understanding that God's transformative powers are always present even when we can't see them.

Indirect Aim: Additional intentions include to cause the child to wonder; to deepen awareness of the Kingdom of Heaven; to deepen awareness that the Kingdom of Heaven is within the self; and to familiarize the child with the scriptures.

Sources: Matthew 13:33-34, Luke 13:21, and pod-casts of Fr. Evan Armatas.

Materials for the Lesson:
Candles, matches, snuffer
Warming Lamp
Booklet: The Yeast
A tray containing two empty clear plastic cups, a marking pen, a container of yeast, 1 measuring teaspoon, a container of flour and sugar mixture, 1 measuring tablespoon, a pitcher that will hold ¼ warm water, 2 small mixing spoon/stick, sponge, a napkin on which to place used materials

The Lesson Plan:
Gather and settled the children. Begin with, "When Jesus walked on earth, He spoke about many things. Sometimes he spoke about the Kingdom of Heaven." Review the Mustard Seed and Precious Pearl parables. You may also review the concept of Parables; see the article on Parables in the Orthodox Study Bible.  Continue with, "I'm going to read from the Bible about one of those times Jesus spoke about the Kingdom of God. This parable is about a woman mixing yeast and flour."

Light the candle. Read Matthew 13:33-34 and/or Luke 13:21.

Measure out your flour as indicated in the Bible verse by placing three measures of flour and one of yeast in one cup, but put only three measures of flour into the second cup without yeast. Mix the ingredients in both cups with wooden sticks. Add warm water to both cups. Mix well and remove sticks. Place both cups under a warming light for a while. Reread Matthew 13:33-34 and/or Luke 13:21 while the mixtures sit.

Call the group together after yeast and flour mixture has had a chance to rise. "Think about what Jesus is telling us. What do we see? Do both cups look the same? What's changed? Does it smell different? Would it feel different? Yeast has changed the flour. Can we see the yeast any more?"

Referencing the parable, ask the following:

  • "What did Jesus want us to know about the Kingdom of Heaven? How is the yeast working?" (from within; quietly; powerfully though tiny) Compare to the mustard seed parable. Notice the ‘flour only' cup.
  • "Would you like to say something to Jesus about this power? You may speak to Him aloud or silently in your heart."

Close with a prayer, and invite the children to use the materials by saying, "You may use these materials anytime now. They will be on the shelf. Be sure to restore them when you are finished so others may use them."

Children will work with the materials directly
Art response: Illustrate the parable
Copy the scripture on to card stock

Notice: This lesson plan utilizes training and the general philosophy/method of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. Materials found in this document, however, have been created specifically to incorporate the theology and dogmatic teaching of the Orthodox Church. The author of this lesson offers special recognition to Mrs. JoAnne Padget, CGS Instructor, who provided instruction and guidance in the CGS method. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program requires intensive study and strongly recommends that teachers using their program enroll in and complete coursework through an authorized CGS instructor. More information about CGS is available at